Acute transverse myelitis in demyelinating diseases among the Chinese

J Neurol. 2011 Dec;258(12):2206-13. doi: 10.1007/s00415-011-6093-y. Epub 2011 May 18.


The aim of the study was to characterize the demographic, clinical, and prognostic features of Chinese patients with acute transverse myelitis (ATM). The clinical data from ATM patients in a demyelinating disease database were analyzed retrospectively. Sixty-seven ATM patients with a follow-up duration longer than 2 years were identified. The frequency of neuromyelitis optica-related ATM (NMO-ATM) was high in our cohort (40.3%). Recurrent ATM (R-ATM), with a female predominance, was common in total idiopathic ATM (69.0%, 20/29). In R-ATM with longitudinally extensive spinal cord lesions (LESCLs), the high seropositivity of NMO-IgG, spinal cord lesions mostly involved the central gray matter and severer long-term disability were similar to NMO-ATM. In RTM without LESCLs, low seropositivity of NMO-IgG, preferentially involvement of the peripheral white matter and relative better neurological recovery were consistent with multiple sclerosis-related ATM (MS-ATM). The transition rates to MS in patients with acute partial transverse myelitis (APTM) and acute complete transverse myelitis (ACTM) were not significant (16.7 vs. 6.3%, P = 0.753), while LESCLs (OR = 11.4, P = 0.028) were significantly correlated with transition to NMO. The presence of LESCLs was the only variable showing a higher risk for reaching Rankin 3 (hazard ratio: 2.5, 95% CI: 1.0-6.1). Chinese patients with ATM had demographic, clinical, and prognostic features different from those in Western populations. Idiopathic R-ATM, common in Chinese, is a heterogeneous entity that shares partial clinical, spinal MRI and prognostic features with MS-ATM and NMO-ATM. The length of spinal cord lesion, rather than APTM/ACTM, may be a prognostic factor associated with clinical outcome and long-term disability in our population.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Age of Onset
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Asians
  • Demyelinating Diseases / epidemiology
  • Demyelinating Diseases / pathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Myelitis, Transverse / epidemiology*
  • Myelitis, Transverse / pathology*
  • Prognosis
  • Recovery of Function
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Young Adult